The first episode of the JSA Way! JSA's new podcast will be used to discuss fitness, food, & fun!
Michelle Williams - November's Athlete of the Month!
Q: How long have you been training in CrossFit and did you exercise prior to joining JSACF?
A: Before JSA, I did CrossFit for about 10 months at another box and stopped about 2 months before I had Clover. Kyle and I started JSA when Clover was just 7 months old, so we have been here for a little over 2 years.
Q: What changes have you made to make your life healthier since starting CrossFit?
A: I have definitely been more aware of proper nutrition. I used to have the mentality of eating whatever I want because I work out. Once I started eating a little healthier, I realized I had to eat way more to keep up with what my body was burning. Healthy food is great fuel for what we put our body through.
Q: Tell us about what you do outside of the box!
A: Outside of the gym, I am a full time hair stylist at Le Palais Hair Lounge in Brielle. I have been there for 9 1/2 years and love every minute of it. I am also kept very busy with every day life of a 3 year old, Clover, and my wonderful husband Coach Kyle.
Q: Since you have been at JSACF, we have witnessed your growth as an athlete. Brag a little.
A: Being here with the wonderful team and coaching staff, I have definitely improved not only my movements and strength, but also my attitude towards trying and failing. Joining the comp team this year has also helped me grow as a stronger athlete and teammate.
Q: If you could listen to one song on repeat in the gym, what would it be?
A: Song choice is dependent on what we are doing. For a shorter more cardio intense workout, something fun and club like. For a 1 RM or heavy day, heavy music.
Q: What is a goal you have set for yourself in the next 6 months? The next year?
A: In the next 6 months I would love to start RX the majority of the workouts. The Open is right around the corner and I would love to do as well as I can for them. In the next year I would hope to actually finish the workouts I try to do RX. And a bar/ring muscle up wouldn't be so bad. Haha.
Q: If there was a WOD named after you, what would it consist of?
A: A WOD named after me would have cleans, kettle bell swings, and squats.
Q: Do you have any favorite moments in the gym that you’d like to tell us about?
A: Hitting a PR is always a good day, but my favorite/most memorable day was actually one of my worst days. I was so stressed out at home and having a terrible "mom moment" and was visibly upset. Two fellow moms, you know who you are, helped me out tremendously just by talking with me and sharing their moments with me. What people don't understand is that we are family here, sharing good and bad moments, all supporting each other.
Q: What advice would you give to a new person starting CrossFit?
A: For anyone starting out, there isn't anything you can't do. Make it work for you, don't get upset with yourself, do the best you can. There is always room to grow and everyone here is supporting you.
Q: Please share a quote that strikes you as important in your life.
A: "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward" - Martin Luther King Jr.
People of all demographics have come together under the banner of CrossFit to develop a community that is unparalleled in strength, scope and size. The numerous individuals that make up the CrossFit community are obviously drawn to the program for the promise of physical endowment and the camaraderie forged on the floor, but in my short time as part of the community I’ve noticed there are certain intrinsic personality traits that draw people to CrossFit. Some may be perceived as positive traits and others negative, but they all contribute to the personality profile of a CrossFit athlete.
Although the adjective has mainly negative connotations, the fruit bore by neurosis can be extremely beneficial for CrossFit athletes at large. We all know a guy at our gym that takes an excessive amount of time to set up for an Olympic lift, re-gripping the bar several times and twerking in the same fashion before each rep. We all know the girl who goes for the chalk bucket in between every broken set of pull ups. And we all have experienced some type of anxiety or neurosis when we miss multiple days of training. However, when this neurosis is coupled with the right training techniques it forms habits that build elite athletes.
Events like Barbells for Boobs, organizations like CrossFit for Hope and numerous hero workouts honoring fallen soldiers and servicemen put philanthropy at the core of the CrossFit community. Although athletes can be perceived as selfish in many ways, their contributions to the community as a whole cannot be ignored. The philanthropic spirit of CrossFit athletes has transformed boxes into centers for universal benevolence.
Most athletes are fiercely dedicated not only to their own training, but to the gyms and fellow athletes that support their training. Boxes become symbols of identity for frequent athletes, and friendships made at the gym extend far beyond training sessions. There are few conglomerates that have inspired the level of dedication to an idea, purpose and place that CrossFit has.
The emergence of CrossFit has represented a paradigm shift in the world of fitness. After decades of domination by globo-gyms, home exercise videos and isolation training methods, CrossFit has brought the concept of functional fitness to the masses. Even though CrossFit has now become a much more prevalent fitness model, its athletes still embody the sense of rebellion and counter culture that the program was initially built on. Some of the most popular and successful athletes from the CrossFit games are proof of the presence of counter culture in the CrossFit fabric, whether it be undersized athletes such as Chris Spealler, tattoo clad athletes such as Matt Chan or even the unassuming king of fitness, Rich Froning.
There is no better trait that CrossFit athletes share than compassion. The compassion wielded by gym members is the main reason why CrossFit has grown at an exponential rate and has made boxes more than just a place to work out. Newcomers are commonly greeted with open arms, making CrossFit gyms a sanctuary where anyone can be accepted despite their past or present form. This compassion and altruism creates an environment that not only supports physical gains, but also emotional growth.
The stubbornness displayed by many CrossFit patrons is both a strength and weakness. It is strength in the sense that athletes are able to push themselves beyond the boundaries of normal human comprehension. They refuse to accept perceived physical limitations and are often rewarded with an array of positive results. However, this obstinacy is also a contributor to injuries that have tarnished the program’s reputation. Many people have argued that CrossFit is inherently dangerous, but fail to recognize that every athlete has a choice when they enter a box. They can scale workouts until they have developed the mobility, nutrition and techniques needed to perform as prescribed, or they can chose to put themselves at risk by picking up weight they can’t handle properly and performing movements they have not taken the time to master. Most injuries happen because stubborn athletes fail to adhere to a standard, develop a technique properly or listen to their bodies when feeling sore or injured.
CrossFit athletes are complicated. We come in different shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, needing something new on a daily basis. Despite all of these differences, we have found common ground in a sport that delivers a succinct message; we are all the same inside. Though our ages, range of mobility and athletic ability may vary, we all are striving towards creating a better version of ourselves and a better version of the world we see around us. Although these traits can, and have, been portrayed in a negative light, I choose to see them as a cocktail that can been used to inject positivity and success into our everyday lives.